Russian crude oil flows to India are expected to reach 3.36 million tonnes in May, according to estimates from Refinitiv. This is almost 9 times higher than the monthly average in 2021 of 382,500 tonnes.
Part of the reason for the price difference: The West has avoided Russian oil. On Monday, the EU agreed to ban 90% of Russian oil imports by the end of the year. Europe is the largest buyer of Russian energy.
The embargo from a huge importer like Europe would put pressure on the Russian economy, but Moscow has found other buyers in Asia.
According to Refinitiv, crude oil flows from Russia to India rose to 1.01 million tonnes in April from 430,000 tonnes in March.
India’s Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the impact of the EU’s partial ban on the South Asian economy’s oil ties with Moscow.
Earlier in May, India toned down imports. In a statement, the Department of Petroleum and Natural Gas said the country imports oil from around the world, including a significant volume from the United States.
“Despite attempts to produce it in a different way, energy purchases from Russia remain minimal relative to India’s total consumption,” the ministry said in a statement. “India’s legitimate energy transactions cannot be politicized,” it added.
The EU goes ahead with a partial ban
While Asia’s purchases of Russian crude oil are increasing, the EU on Monday decided to block most by the end of this year.
Russian crude oil accounted for 27% of the block’s imports in 2021, according to Eurostat.
Russian oil supplied by tankers will be banned, while exceptions will be made for the southern part of the Druzhba pipeline, said Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, at a press conference.
The northern part of the pipeline serves Poland and Germany – which have accepted the embargo. The southern part goes to Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic and accounts for 10% of Russian oil imports.
A significant part of Russia’s oil exports to Europe go to the block via pipelines. Redirecting these barrels to markets in Asia will require costly new infrastructure that will take years to build.
– CNN’s Julia Horowitz and Vedika Sud contributed to this report